TRAVEL

HAVASUPAI (& THE GRAND CANYON CONFLUENCE)

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WHAT?

One the most beautiful places on earth.


HOW DO I GET HERE?

First things first. You’ll need a reservation. Here’s what to do.

  1. Remember this date: FEBRUARY 1ST. This is when you can begin making reservations.

  2. Remember this website: http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com. This is where you can sign up for reservations. Spots fill up FAST! Make sure you sign up immediately after reservations open.

While this blog will provide a brief overview for your trip, the website above will provide more in-depth details about how much permits cost, how many days you can stay, and further rules and regulations for staying in Havasupai.

HOW DO I GET HERE (PART 2)?

You’ve got your permit! Great! Here’s how to get here.

By car: Take the 1-40 to Seligman, AZ (I strongly recommend eating at https://www.westsidelilos.com/ before and/or after your experience in Havasupai). From Seligman take Indian Route 18 to the Hualapi Hilltop. Here you can park your vehicle and prepare for the next leg of your trip.

To get to Havasupai Village you’re most likely taking one of two ways:

  • Hiking in: Prepare yourself for an 8 mile downhill hike to Havasupai village where you will check in and receive confirmation of your online permit. It’s another 2 miles from here to the campground but if you’re staying at the Lodge then you’re already there. You can always pay a small fee for your backpack to be carried up and/or down the trail by mule.

  • Helicopter ride: 85$ one way. A short 10 minute ride from the Hualapi Hilltop to Havasupai Village. Please visit this website for more details: https://waterfallsofthegrandcanyon.com/havasu-falls/havasupai-helicopters/

WHERE DO I STAY?

Most people stay at the campground, 10 miles from the trailhead. Several eco-friendly bathrooms and a fresh water spring are available at the campground.

Lodging is also available at the Havasupai Lodge. Reservations begin in the summer months.


WHEN SHOULD I GO?

Havaupai is open from February to the end of November. Summer months (May-August) are the best time to get in the water BUT they are also the most dangerous for hiking with temperatures rising past 100 degrees fahrenheit. These months also include monsoon season, and heavy rains can bring very dangerous flash floods to the area. Please be mindful of weather patterns and plan accordingly. Many people suffer heat related injuries (even up to death) every year while in Havasupai and in the Grand Canyon wilderness.

THE CONFLUENCE (HAVASU CREEK MEETS THE COLORADO RIVER):

For those of you here for details regarding the hike to the confluence: Bring plenty of water for the day (3 liters has typically been enough for me). Pack a lunch, bring snacks, and plan on having dinner back at the campground. I strongly suggest beginning your day from the campground no later than 8AM as you will be in for 14-18 miles (or 7-10 hours) round trip of hiking. The mileage varies depending on where you stay in Havasu Campground and also because you will be crossing the Havasu Creek 9-10 times. Route finding can be tricky and rock cairns will serve as your best friend. You will get wet on this hike, although the water crossings have never been higher than my thighs. I suggest wearing a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and that you don’t have to take off each time you cross the water. This will help cut down on time and energy.

People that do this hike will usually include a small visit to Beaver Falls which is along the way. By this time you will have crossed the Havasu Creek 3 times. The Beaver Falls area is also the area you will be leaving the Havasupai Reservation and entering Grand Canyon National Park. Along the trail, just before Beaver Falls, there is an option to turn left and go to the falls or to continue straight over a large hill and into the Grand Canyon. As you choose to continue straight you will reach a sign that designates you are leaving Havasupai Reservation. Make your way down the large hill and you will meet up again with Havasu Creek. From here you’ll have another 4-6 miles to the confluence, and you’ll cross the creek another 6 or so times. The trail is beautiful but can also be hard to find at times. Be on the lookout for cairns to help guide the way. You may even encounter Bighorn Sheep if you’re lucky.

The confluence is a popular place for river rafters to dock their rafts and do day hikes up Havasu Creek. When you arrive you will see the beautiful blue waters of Havasu Creek meet the roaring grey waters of the Colorado River. It’s quite a sight to see. Congratulations! You are now a part of a small group of people that have made it this deep into the canyon.


WHAT WILL I SEE? (SPOILER ALERT)

In order of appearance:

TRAILHEAD (START)

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HAVSUPAI VILLAGE (8 MILES IN)

NAVAJO FALLS (9 MILES IN)

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HAVASU FALLS (10 MILES IN)

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HAVASU CAMPGROUND (10 MILES IN)

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MOONEY FALLS (10-11 MILES IN)

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BEAVER FALLS (12 MILES IN)

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ADDITIONAL HIKE TO THE GRAND CANYON CONFLUENCE (18-20 MILES IN)

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ICELAND: RING ROAD OVERVIEW

Stokness, one of the many wonders you'll expereince as your travel Iceland's ring road

Stokness, one of the many wonders you'll expereince as your travel Iceland's ring road

LET'S JUMP RIGHT IN:

So you're tired of seeing all those Iceland pictures on Instagram and have finally decided to make the trip to see for yourself! Now you're just looking for how to plan. Perfect! Here is a quick and simple one week itinerary of how to get the most out of your journey. 

 

THE RING ROAD: 

The ring road is approximately 800 miles (1300 kilometers) that traces the perimeter of Iceland. If you have 7-10 days, it's arguably the best way to experience this beautiful country. The road is two lanes, mainly paved, unless you are taking some shortcuts (which may be dirt or gravel roads), and is in fairly good shape (minus a few potholes). 

 

STEP #1: GET A RENTAL CAR

Yup. It's super easy. A one week rental from any of the major car rental agencies runs around $300 for the week, depending on how much insurance you're willing to get on it. Looking to camp in a van? There are plenty of options for that too! It is a bit more expensive... unless, of course, you're splitting the cost amongst friends.

 

STEP #2: HOUSING

There are lots of ways to experience Iceland. The two most reasonable ways to travel the ring road, given the weather, are either car-camping or airbnb-ing. As for my trip, I found reasonably priced airbnb's (around $100/night) in each of the places listed below.

 

STEP #3: PLACES TO STAY

Okay, now we're getting into it. Let's say you have one week to travel (it'll take at least one week to do the full ring). Here are some great cities/towns to stay in or explore. Together they give a great feel for the Iceland experience. Posted below is a map for your reference to the ring road:

Ring Road

Ring Road

 

A: KEFLAVIK AIRPORT TO REYKJAVIK

You've just landed at Keflavik airport. If you get in early in the day, you can make a morning or afternoon at the Blue Lagoon. It's a little pricey (around $60-70), but it's a classic sight, especially if you're looking to take a dip in the local hot springs. If you arrive later in the afternoon or evening, you can head directly to the capital city of Reykjavik. There you will be able to find several places to eat or get groceries, and also many reasonably priced places to stay the night.

*If you are staying more than a week, I strongly recommend driving the Golden Circle before continuing the ring road. Give yourself at least one to two days to do this.

 

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

 

A TO B: REYKJAVIK TO VIK

Along the road from Reykjavik to Vik, you'll find a slew of gems - waterfalls, black sand beaches, even an airplane wreckage site... just to name a few. 

When you arrive at Vik, there you'll find a quaint and cozy town with plenty to do. Vik is great for bird watching (namely for puffins - those cute orange and white looking birds) and walking the black sand beaches of Dyrholaey.

Dyrholaey.

Dyrholaey.

 

B TO C: VIK TO HOFN

The road from Vik to Hofn is incredibly scenic with tons to see (when is there not?!). This portion of the ring road is where you'll find Skaftafell National Park, the glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon, and several glaciers. At these locations you have opportunity to explore ice caves, go ice climbing, or even walk along glaciers. 

Hofn is a very pretty port town that offers tasty local seafood. If you arrive before sunset I strongly recommend a visit to Stokness to explore. It's only a few miles down the road and well worth a trip.

Jokulsarlon

Jokulsarlon

 

C TO D: HOFN TO EGILSSTADIR OR SEYDISFJORDUR

Traveling the ring road from Hofn to eastern Iceland presents a few optional shortcuts. If you're staying true to the ring road then you will pass along many fjords. Eventually, you will come upon the largest city in east Iceland, Egilsstadir. I suggest going a bit further east to the coastal town of Seydisfjordur where you will have spectacular view of the coastline and some artsy shops to look around at.

Seydisfjordur

Seydisfjordur

 

D TO E: EASTERN ICELAND TO MYVATN

If you're looking to spend some time in northeast Iceland, I recommend Bakkagerdi for puffin watching. Another popular spot is Dettifoss. Dettifoss is one of the most powerful waterfalls in all of Europe. Moving westward, you'll reach Myvatn.

Myvatn lies in the northernmost part of Iceland. It is full of geothermal wonders, including the Myvatn hot baths, a more scenic and less expensive version of the Blue Lagoon. Don't forget to check out Grjótagjá caves as well. If you're looking for some hiking, I recommend Hverfjall crater.

Myvatn hot springs

Myvatn hot springs

  

E TO F: MYVATN TO AKUREYRI

As you move west from Mvyatn you reach Akureyri, the capital of the north. This place is just lovely. Tucked between fjords, the city center is the largest outside of Reykjavik. Whale watching is available here, as are many places to eat and find lodging. I recommend venturing out into the smaller towns on the outskirts of Akureyri, located further north, up the fjords. Make sure to see Godafoss on your way into Akureyri. Godafoss is a powerful and impressive waterfall that is well worth teh detore. 

Godafoss

Godafoss

 

F TO A: BACK TO REYKJAVIK

From Akureyri to Reykjavik there is the famous Kirkjufellsfoss - a must-see on your return trip home. 

Kirkjufellsfoss

Kirkjufellsfoss

 

THAT'S A WRAP!

Remember that these places are only a general overview in helping you form your own unique ring road experience. Quite honestly, there is too much to see and do in just a week. But if a week is all you have, well then, this may be a good start.

Looking for more information regarding Iceland? Don't forget to check out my other blog post. As always, I'd love to hear from you about what's been helpful and what I missed.

SEDONA: RED ROCKS, L'AUBERGE, AND TIBETAN MONKS

The secret is out! Sedona boasts one of the top getaways, not just in Arizona, but in the nation. Visitors to this red rocked paradise will not be disappointed with the large array of outdoor adventure, fine dining, and resorts that this small but lively city has to offer. Just this last week I had the privilege of staying an evening with some very talented photographers and filmmakers at one of Sedona's top resorts, L'auberge. 

L'auberge is one of Sedona's finest resorts. Nestled just above Oak Creek and hidden by the surrounding oak, L'auberge boasts some of the finest dining to be had in all of Sedona. Guests will be delighted by a fantastic staff, beatiful hidden cottages, spa, outdoor activites, and the overall aura of tranquility.

L'auberge is one of Sedona's finest resorts. Nestled just above Oak Creek and hidden by the surrounding oak, L'auberge boasts some of the finest dining to be had in all of Sedona. Guests will be delighted by a fantastic staff, beatiful hidden cottages, spa, outdoor activites, and the overall aura of tranquility.

While at L'auberge guests can sneak away to enjoy the red rocked landscapes and trail systems by horse, bike, ATV, or hike. There's no shortage of things to do!

While at L'auberge guests can sneak away to enjoy the red rocked landscapes and trail systems by horse, bike, ATV, or hike. There's no shortage of things to do!

At L'auberge I was able to witness the extraordinary talent and concentration of five Tibetan Monks who are on a two year tour of America. The monks were working on what is called a ''mandala," an incredibly detailed and elaborate sand painting that is created over a week. With intense concentration the monks worked six to eight hours a day creating their masterpiece. At the end of the week, the mandala was finished - and with such lively and exuberant color! 

Tibetan Monks hard at work on their mandala as they reach their completion.

Tibetan Monks hard at work on their mandala as they reach their completion.

 

At the closing ceremony the monks took the time to celebrate those that had hosted them, and spoke more about the meaning and purpose of the mandala that they had created. To keep in line with the discipline of non-permanence, the mandala was swept away. Some of the remaining sand was given to all that were present, and some was sprinkled into Oak Creek to promote blessing and healing for the land.

The remaining sand is sprinkled into the creek to promote blessing and healing.

The remaining sand is sprinkled into the creek to promote blessing and healing.